“It’s so amazing to hear what all of my classmates are planning on doing with this degree. There are a couple of yoga teachers who want to become better yoga teachers; there are others who want to teach in a community college setting, some who want to go on to do PhDs and do Sanskrit translation. Yoga as an industry is still in its infancy. This academic, accredited certification of achievement is going to set people up to become thought leaders as this industry continues to evolve.”
—Cassandra Smith, MA Yoga Studies Student
Naropa’s 1974 inauguration was marked by Ram Dass teaching the Yogas of the Bhagavad Gītā to over one thousand students, and we’ve remained dedicated to yoga studies ever since. The Master of Arts in Yoga Studies is one of only two such yoga degrees in the country.
Naropa’s Master of Arts in Yoga Studies is intended for yoga teachers, practitioners, and enthusiasts interested in developing graduate-level expertise in the diverse array of teachings and practices of yoga throughout history. This degree in yoga studies can lead to a career in the expanding field of yoga research or creative entrepreneurial and service-oriented work in yoga communities worldwide. The program can also act as a pathway to doctoral programs in South Asian religions and Indology, as well as disciplines focused on modern postural yoga, such as sociology and anthropology.
During your three years in this low-residency master’s program, you’ll immerse yourself in yogic forms of meditation, study Buddhist and Indo-Tibetan religious traditions, and unveil the knowledge in Sanskrit texts.
Through engaging online courses and two residential yoga retreats held in Boulder, Colorado, you’ll build community and gain a deep knowledge of yoga that transforms your practice and your life.
Discover Career Pathways for Yoga Studies Graduates
Learn More About the Student Experience
Cassandra Smith is a student in the first cohort of the Masters of Arts in Yoga Studies program at Naropa University. She hopes to use the knowledge she gains in this program to further her career in the realm of publishing and editorial work. Her academic focus is on the intersections of yoga with countercultural and psychedelic communities.
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Yoga Studies Courses
Naropa University offers an educational and contemplative immersion that will make your master’s degree in yoga studies truly unique. The curriculum offers a detailed training in the history, practice, and views of major lineages of yoga. This includes a critical study of yoga across diverse Indian religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sufism. The curriculum also charts the emergence of the ‘non-sectarian’ practice of “haṭha yoga” and the twentieth-century flourishing of modern yoga, both postural and meditative.
In addition to this comprehensive yoga studies curriculum, Sanskrit training, and contemplative approach, two areas of specialization further distinguish the program. The first is the study of Buddhist traditions. The earliest practices and teachings of Buddhism deeply informed classical yoga. Naropa’s yoga studies master’s program includes an exploration of this understudied area of yoga research, and subsequent traditions of Buddhist yoga practiced in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. A second area of specialization is a comprehensive study of the yoga of tantric traditions, which is also a largely uncharted domain in the history of yoga, upon which the curriculum shines significant light.
Courses in the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies include:
The Naropa Difference
The Yoga Studies program integrates the practice of meditation drawn directly from the yogic systems of the Yogasūtra, Śaiva tantra, Haṭha yoga, and Vedānta. Inspired by Naropa’s pioneering vision for contemplative education, the practice of yogic forms of meditation is a cornerstone of this curriculum. From its inception, Naropa University has championed a holistic study of Indo-Tibetan religious traditions. This involves joining critical historical scholarship with a participatory approach that remains open to the enduring value of these teachings and spiritual disciplines.
Earn Your Yoga Degree from Anywhere in the World
Naropa’s Master’s Degree in Yoga Studies is a three-year program that is “low-residency,” which means it is primarily offered online, but includes two in-person retreats in Boulder, Colorado. You can enroll in the Yoga Studies degree program from wherever you live. The pace of the program makes it possible to continue engaging your professional life while working towards completion of the degree. We begin with a nine-day residential retreat in the fall of the first year, bringing the students together with faculty to build community and provide a face-to-face experience of contemplative education. A second nine-day retreat is held in the fall semester of the third year.
Study with Accomplished Faculty
The Naropa yoga studies faculty are accomplished scholars of yoga who are committed to contemplative pedagogy. As educators whose lives have been heavily steeped in Indian culture and tradition, they are committed to sharing both the complex theories of yogic philosophy as well as the sense of wonder that accompanies the practice of yoga.
Whether you’re meeting online or in person, your professors are dedicated to building community through thoughtful lessons and authentic discussion. While you may be studying from home, your yoga degree will be an unforgettable journey of community, connection, and growth.